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The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Dear Ursula, you are dead wrong Fri May 27, 2022 22:43 | amarynth
by Jorge Vilches for the Saker Blog According to Ursula von der Leyen ? President of the EU Commission ? Europe today keeps buying Russian oil just to ?deny Putin

offsite link Hezbollah: 77 out of 128 MPs support resistance to Israel in new Lebanese Parliament Fri May 27, 2022 11:11 | amarynth
Description: Hezbollah?s Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Qassem, asserted in a recent interview on Al-Manar TV, that 77 out of the 128 MPs in Lebanon?s new Parliament support the strategic

offsite link Will NATO Aggression Force Russia to Extend the Special Operation Beyond the Ukraine? Fri May 27, 2022 10:57 | amarynth
By Batiushka for The Saker Blog Introduction: The Three Aims The three aims of the Russian Federation?s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine were clearly announced by President Putin at

offsite link Andrei Martyanov: Davos ?news?, real resources, Operational Art-2 Thu May 26, 2022 22:13 | amarynth
Please visit Andrei?s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspo... and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/beP... Attached article about COFM

offsite link Gonzalo Lira: Lysychansk, fire control, retreat and truth Thu May 26, 2022 18:54 | amarynth

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Fergus Finlay and the maternity hospital ‘gotcha’ trap

offsite link Irish Examiner and fake news Anthony

offsite link Labour Party: The unvarnished truth Anthony

offsite link Humanity: Zero chance of survival Anthony

offsite link RTE gives balance – accidentally? Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Nick Hudson Coming to London ? Get Tickets Now Tue May 17, 2022 18:00 | Will Jones
Nick Hudson of PANDA is coming to London on Thursday May 26th to deliver ?The Quest for Open Science?, after which he will be interviewed by Jeffrey Peel from the New Era and take questions from the audience.
The post Nick Hudson Coming to London ? Get Tickets Now appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Don?t Panic Mr Monkeypox! Social Distancing Returns Due to New Viral Panic Tue May 17, 2022 16:53 | Toby Young
At least one medical practice in West London has reintroduced social distancing to reduce the risk of patients contracting Monkeypox. This, in spite of the fact that there are only nine cases so far in the U.K.
The post Don’t Panic Mr Monkeypox! Social Distancing Returns Due to New Viral Panic appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Are All Britain?s Current Woes Traceable to a Group of Entitled ?Tory Toffs? at Oxford in the 1980s? Tue May 17, 2022 13:00 | Toby Young
Simon Kuper's book about how a small group of 'Tory Toffs' who were at Oxford in the 1980s masterminded the Brexit project to reclaim their aristocratic birthright is highly entertaining, but not convincing.
The post Are All Britain’s Current Woes Traceable to a Group of Entitled ‘Tory Toffs’ at Oxford in the 1980s? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Forget Science ? Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars Tue May 17, 2022 11:26 | Chris Morrison
You might think that if you debunk patently silly extreme weather claims, the entire fear agenda will go away. Think again. Climate change is now firmly embedded in the culture wars surrounding race, identity and gender.
The post Forget Science ? Climate Now Has a Central Role in The Culture Wars appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Would the U.S. Side With Ukraine?s Far-Right Against Zelensky? Tue May 17, 2022 10:10 | Noah Carl
Why didn't the US back Zelensky? The New York Times wrote earlier this year that his government could be overthrown by far-right groups if he ?agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow?.
The post Would the U.S. Side With Ukraine?s Far-Right Against Zelensky? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Anti-Empire - Fri May 27, 2022 08:53

Ukrainian combat refusals continue to happen showing the stress that army is under and the unenviable position its soldiers are often placed in, and I am going to cover them, but meanwhile something predictable has happened — the first deployment refusal on the other side, by the soldiers of the Donetsk Republic.

There are two videos in the style of the Ukrainian refusal/protest/appeal videos from Donetsk fighters.

One appears to be a fully-fledged deployment refusal (mutiny), while the other is a mere appeal trying to draw attention to their plight.

200 DPR fighters from the 107th Regiment are refusing to deploy to the frontline in Lugansk. They say they were mobilized illegally without even a medical examination to determine if they were fit, and that they had already fought for 3 months in Mariupol. That they do not intend to become cannon fodder in Lugansk (where they suspect they would not even be recorded as having died as official soldiers of Donetsk).

They also say they have in their ranks a POW they liberated in Mariupol that was returned to service without even being given medical exam despite having shrapnel in his body:

Meanwhile 3rd battalion 105th Regiment of DPR recorded an appeal also explaining they were placed into service without a medical, were not given training, and that promises made that they would serve in the rear were broken. They were placed on the frontline and sustained 40% losses so that only 60% of them remains (probably 10% killed and 30% wounded). They request to be pulled back from the Lugansk frontline into rear-area service in Donetsk:

This is another cost of Putin waging a "special military operation". Because trained Russian conscripts are made non-deployable a disproportionate burden falls on untrained Donetsk civilians.

It isn't the case that Moscow is above using conscripts. It is using conscripts from Donetsk and Lugansk aplenty and throwing what are still basically civilians to the front line.

This goes some way toward dispeling the notion that the Russian-led side is suffering light losses only. This battalion claims to have sustained 40% losses in 3 months.

It also destroys any suggestion that the Russian side has enough men for the job if these third rate troops are being used for heavy frontline combat as they claim.

A pro-war Donetsk blogger defends the protesting troops (machine translated from Russian):

A Ukrainian-style video appeared on the Web, where soldiers of the DPR mobilization regiments refuse to perform combat missions. Some of them are false, some are real. Immediately there were screams about crypto-dills, not getting up like that, and other crap. With deathly silence of officials. ALL of our officialdom is silent, which raises the degree of heat, but there is no point in hiding - all this is already on the Web and quite widely. We need to understand and find out.

But start to find out and it will come out ... no, not Donetsk identity, and not lazy khataskrayniks, the following will come out:

1. Light regiments with numbers above 100 were created for mobilization. These regiments are a kind of analogue of the Ukrainian Terrorist Defense - light infantry without artillery, armored vehicles and normal weapons.

2. The mobilization itself was carried out perfectly - without normal medical examinations, cohesion of units, training, and with the creation of units from scratch, which automatically means their low combat capability.

3. The previous one is not bad if these regiments were used correctly - covering cities, roadblocks, the outer ring of encirclement of cities blocked by the army. Actually, as they use the secondary parts. They began to be used as linear parts. Assaults on Avdeevka, Maryinka, Mariupol. Battles near Kharkov and Nikolaev. Everyone can guess the level of losses for himself.

4. No one rebelled, did not run, fought. But upon returning to the DPR, the fighters learned that refugees had already been taken to their jobs, and they again were to be thrown somewhere. Away from the DPR, where daily shelling and casualties among their loved ones and relatives. At the same time, work with personnel was not carried out. Just do. Is it in style who is against that dill. Well, trying to replenish. Roundups and trapping.

In the end, it blew up. Strange, right? People, many of whom did not hold weapons in their hands before, and whose preparation before the war was reduced to formalism, even without weapons and firing, and not all of them passed, they were thrown into the trash, they were not equipped, well, apart from what is in the picture , it sucks armed, thrown into two-month battles and then, they said that their work was busy, and they still had to fight. Probably they are khataskrayniks, or they don’t get up ...

The situation itself is actually solvable - guarantees for work - a normal medical examination, normal payments and equipment not at the expense of wages and a month for training for those who remain in the ranks, then - into normal brigades, which should have been done initially with those who fought, but 100th regiments to checkpoints, to strengthen the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But this is not our method - we will be silent until it stops and morally put pressure. Well, if morally ... And all this raises only one question for me - about adequate. Last night I asked people again, read the officialdom and bloggers, the first in shock, the second deaf-blind and posting peremogi, the third are looking for problems in identity, national spirit and all that. Some here are the authorities of the Republics protect. They don't command. Not them. They could organize the ammunition. Yell about what is happening, too, they. Do not overshadow them either. While Sladkov wrote about the very problem of mobs, there is no nichrome in style, but the heroes, and Skif - well done in style, they take care of the youth, first the old ones die.

Just think - these are fucking people, people who did not run, did not surrender and did not succumb to the enemy when they were sent into battle with their ass bare. And people demanding AFTER the battle to be listened to and their problems solved what are they wrong about? And why is the trial tightly hidden? War? So we have a SVO, they are citizens of the Russian Federation. And advice to all critics and other guards - put on a cheap figure, a helmet from a photo, take a pre-1914 type cider and SKS and imagine how you are fighting against an army with drones, snipers, anti-tank systems and oversaturated machine guns. They've been able to. And if you want people to fight, talk to them. Fine. And punish the organizers of this. And do not howl "but the Russians", a contract soldier with normal ammunition, social guarantees and a salary, this is not yesterday's teacher or driver.

Ukrainian combat refusals continue to happen showing the stress that army is under and the unenviable position its soldiers are often placed in, and I am going to cover them, but meanwhile something predictable has happened — the first deployment refusal on the other side, by the soldiers of the Donetsk Republic.

There are two videos in the style of the Ukrainian refusal/protest/appeal videos from Donetsk fighters.

One appears to be a fully-fledged deployment refusal (mutiny), while the other is a mere appeal trying to draw attention to their plight.

200 DPR fighters from the 107th Regiment are refusing to deploy to the frontline in Lugansk. They say they were mobilized illegally without even a medical examination to determine if they were fit, and that they had already fought for 3 months in Mariupol. That they do not intend to become cannon fodder in Lugansk (where they suspect they would not even be recorded as having died as official soldiers of Donetsk).

They also say they have in their ranks a POW they liberated in Mariupol that was returned to service without even being given medical exam despite having shrapnel in his body:

Meanwhile 3rd battalion 105th Regiment of DPR recorded an appeal also explaining they were placed into service without a medical, were not given training, and that promises made that they would serve in the rear were broken. They were placed on the frontline and sustained 40% losses so that only 60% of them remains (probably 10% killed and 30% wounded). They request to be pulled back from the Lugansk frontline into rear-area service in Donetsk:

This is another cost of Putin waging a "special military operation". Because trained Russian conscripts are made non-deployable a disproportionate burden falls on untrained Donetsk civilians.

It isn't the case that Moscow is above using conscripts. It is using conscripts from Donetsk and Lugansk aplenty and throwing what are still basically civilians to the front line.

This goes some way toward dispeling the notion that the Russian-led side is suffering light losses only. This battalion claims to have sustained 40% losses in 3 months.

It also destroys any suggestion that the Russian side has enough men for the job if these third rate troops are being used for heavy frontline combat as they claim.

A pro-war Donetsk blogger defends the protesting troops (machine translated from Russian):

A Ukrainian-style video appeared on the Web, where soldiers of the DPR mobilization regiments refuse to perform combat missions. Some of them are false, some are real. Immediately there were screams about crypto-dills, not getting up like that, and other crap. With deathly silence of officials. ALL of our officialdom is silent, which raises the degree of heat, but there is no point in hiding - all this is already on the Web and quite widely. We need to understand and find out.

But start to find out and it will come out ... no, not Donetsk identity, and not lazy khataskrayniks, the following will come out:

1. Light regiments with numbers above 100 were created for mobilization. These regiments are a kind of analogue of the Ukrainian Terrorist Defense - light infantry without artillery, armored vehicles and normal weapons.

2. The mobilization itself was carried out perfectly - without normal medical examinations, cohesion of units, training, and with the creation of units from scratch, which automatically means their low combat capability.

3. The previous one is not bad if these regiments were used correctly - covering cities, roadblocks, the outer ring of encirclement of cities blocked by the army. Actually, as they use the secondary parts. They began to be used as linear parts. Assaults on Avdeevka, Maryinka, Mariupol. Battles near Kharkov and Nikolaev. Everyone can guess the level of losses for himself.

4. No one rebelled, did not run, fought. But upon returning to the DPR, the fighters learned that refugees had already been taken to their jobs, and they again were to be thrown somewhere. Away from the DPR, where daily shelling and casualties among their loved ones and relatives. At the same time, work with personnel was not carried out. Just do. Is it in style who is against that dill. Well, trying to replenish. Roundups and trapping.

In the end, it blew up. Strange, right? People, many of whom did not hold weapons in their hands before, and whose preparation before the war was reduced to formalism, even without weapons and firing, and not all of them passed, they were thrown into the trash, they were not equipped, well, apart from what is in the picture , it sucks armed, thrown into two-month battles and then, they said that their work was busy, and they still had to fight. Probably they are khataskrayniks, or they don’t get up ...

The situation itself is actually solvable - guarantees for work - a normal medical examination, normal payments and equipment not at the expense of wages and a month for training for those who remain in the ranks, then - into normal brigades, which should have been done initially with those who fought, but 100th regiments to checkpoints, to strengthen the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But this is not our method - we will be silent until it stops and morally put pressure. Well, if morally ... And all this raises only one question for me - about adequate. Last night I asked people again, read the officialdom and bloggers, the first in shock, the second deaf-blind and posting peremogi, the third are looking for problems in identity, national spirit and all that. Some here are the authorities of the Republics protect. They don't command. Not them. They could organize the ammunition. Yell about what is happening, too, they. Do not overshadow them either. While Sladkov wrote about the very problem of mobs, there is no nichrome in style, but the heroes, and Skif - well done in style, they take care of the youth, first the old ones die.

Just think - these are fucking people, people who did not run, did not surrender and did not succumb to the enemy when they were sent into battle with their ass bare. And people demanding AFTER the battle to be listened to and their problems solved what are they wrong about? And why is the trial tightly hidden? War? So we have a SVO, they are citizens of the Russian Federation. And advice to all critics and other guards - put on a cheap figure, a helmet from a photo, take a pre-1914 type cider and SKS and imagine how you are fighting against an army with drones, snipers, anti-tank systems and oversaturated machine guns. They've been able to. And if you want people to fight, talk to them. Fine. And punish the organizers of this. And do not howl "but the Russians", a contract soldier with normal ammunition, social guarantees and a salary, this is not yesterday's teacher or driver.

Anti-Empire - Fri May 27, 2022 03:12

In late March and early April the Russians withdrew from Kiev outskirts and northern Ukraine and moved their sole focus to Donbass.

Having combined all of their forces into the Donbass effort, how much progress have they made so far, some 52 days after the withdrawal's completion?

Well here is the Donbass situation on April 3 when the Kiev withdrawal was over:

Here is the situation on April 20th:

And here is the situation at present:

Has there been progress? Yes.

Has there been a lot of progress?

No. The progress is sufficiently small that on the map of entire Ukraine it can not even be seen. We have to zoom into the northern Donetsk region to even be able to see it.

A lot of people are saying this does not matter because the slow progress is the result of Russia opting to advance more slowly to suffer lighter losses and preserve manpower. This is nonsense and the stupidest thing I have heard all month. Since March 15 Russian weekly losses have been somewhat lighter but not radically so. And relative to gains being made they have never been worse.

Yes, early on losses were somewhat worse but in return for those losses Russia was achieving things like advancing 300 kilometers from its western border to the eastern outskirts of Kiev in 10 days. Now, for only slightly lower losses, Russia is achieving feats like capturing a couple of villages per day — if that.

The fact is that nobody has ever found a way to make positional warfare cheap. That includes the Syrian government and the Bosnian Serbs who fought an enemy which only had light weapons. No matter how much artillery you have in the end it still comes down to infantry storming trenches which has never been cheap.

The Russian military is not advancing slowly because it has discovered some new never-before-seen brilliant way of fighting that devastates the enemy but preserves your own numbers. It is advancing slowly, paying a high cost for every village taken, because it doesn't have the mass needed to make it a mobile war where you advance at a far lower cost in blood.

The recipe for getting out of the positional quagmire has always been known. Make a breakthrough (at a high price) then pour in reserves to exploit it. But when you don't have the numbers to generate powerful exploitation forces then you are sentenced to having to endlessly assault prepared positions over and over again.

Alexander Sladkov, the reporter embedded with DPR troops has said multiple times that they are being asked to assault enemy positions at 1:1 troop ratios. In such circumstances it is something of a miracle that the Russians are making any progress at all. Also it is easy to understand that having to assault an enemy at a correlation of forces of just 1:1 drives up your losses since you either don't have enough men for proper suppression of the enemy, or to make your flanking attacks sufficiently broad.

This wouldn't be worth talking about but for one tiny little detail — this Russian dearth of manpower that makes the gains they make so much costlier for them is entirely self-inflicted. Or better said Kremlin-inflicted.

The Russian military is composed of 220,000 officers, 420,000 contract soldiers, 270,000 conscript soldiers, and in the case of major war is configured to mobilize another 150-200,000 reservists to fill up its ranks. (Not to form new units, but merely to get existing ones to full strength.)

The first thing Putin did when he threw the military into a major war was to inform them that call up of reserves was off the table and that they could not use any of the 270,000 conscripts they had trained and integrated into their units where they were carrying out vital roles. Who does that? Who starts a major war then cuts his effective military by a third??

This is a crime against the military not seen since Stalin shot tens of thousands of officers just before they would be desperately needed for WW2.

And again, it doesn't save lives. It costs lives. It also represents fraud against contract soldiers. When you sign a contract you understand that you might be sent to war. But that means just that — A WAR. A major war that will be treated as a major war and in which you will be properly supported by the government that sent you there. That includes support by conscripts and reservists. But what nobody signed on for was to be sent into a "special military operation". As far as anyone can tell a "special military operation" is exactly like a war, except one in which the Kremlin fucks you. Throws you into a meat grinder against a nation of 40 million that has every intention of mobilizing but limits your own numbers to just officers and contract soldiers.

Honestly, who is the bigger enemy of the Russian soldier? Biden who sent the Ukrainians 100 howitzers, or Putin who made 100,000 conscript soldiers from the units sent to Ukraine non-deployable?

Vladimir "5th Column" Pussy has taken far more Russian rifles off the board than Ukrainians ever could.

And the Russian soldier foolish enough to enter into a contract with the Russian vaxx-max government is left paying the price as he assaults Ukrainian trenches at 1:1 ratios, suffering losses accordingly.

The only saving grace of the "special military operation" is that a state of war not having been declared Russian contract soldiers can refuse deployment and tear up their contracts without great legal repercussions. — However they still overwhelmingly do not do that, because if they refuse to deploy then their platoon buddies who do deploy are that much more screwed.

What is funnier is that the official motto of this special mission travesty is "No one left behind." Hilarious. Just as the contract soldier is being betrayed, made to bear vastly disproportionate sacrifices, and actively pushed unsupported into a world of shit the government claims it is leaving "no one behind". Indeed, it isn't. That would imply passivity where the betrayal here is of a much more active type.

What happened here is that the Russians first tried to develop an advance going south from Izyum (purple arrow), but that stalled and they gave that up for the time being. (Right around when Gerasimov was rumored to have visited the front.)

They shifted focus to creating an even smaller envelopment further east. Even this less ambitious effort was only partially successful. The attempt by the northern pincer (red arrow) to cross the river ended in a disaster.

However, the effort from the south (green arrow) was successful, but only after a very long and expensive fight for the heavily entrenched town of Popasna.

The advance in the south, in particular, is significant despite its brief length of only 20 km because the urban agglomeration of Severodonetsk-Lisichansk is now threatened with supply loss and encirclement, which is something.

So the gains being made are not meaningless. Lives aren't being thrown away for nothing at all. Something is being gained, and there is (slow, costly) progress. But the point stands that everything that is being accomplished is being accomplished in the most difficult and costly way possible — by first handicapping the Russian military and ensuring it does not have the numbers advantage for mobile war.


*The closest to making positional warfare casualties lopsided came the Americans in the Pacific but they were assaulting isolated, unsupported island garrisons that they could approach with any superiority in numbers that they chose for themselves.

In late March and early April the Russians withdrew from Kiev outskirts and northern Ukraine and moved their sole focus to Donbass.

Having combined all of their forces into the Donbass effort, how much progress have they made so far, some 52 days after the withdrawal's completion?

Well here is the Donbass situation on April 3 when the Kiev withdrawal was over:

Here is the situation on April 20th:

And here is the situation at present:

Has there been progress? Yes.

Has there been a lot of progress?

No. The progress is sufficiently small that on the map of entire Ukraine it can not even be seen. We have to zoom into the northern Donetsk region to even be able to see it.

A lot of people are saying this does not matter because the slow progress is the result of Russia opting to advance more slowly to suffer lighter losses and preserve manpower. This is nonsense and the stupidest thing I have heard all month. Since March 15 Russian weekly losses have been somewhat lighter but not radically so. And relative to gains being made they have never been worse.

Yes, early on losses were somewhat worse but in return for those losses Russia was achieving things like advancing 300 kilometers from its western border to the eastern outskirts of Kiev in 10 days. Now, for only slightly lower losses, Russia is achieving feats like capturing a couple of villages per day — if that.

The fact is that nobody has ever found a way to make positional warfare cheap. That includes the Syrian government and the Bosnian Serbs who fought an enemy which only had light weapons. No matter how much artillery you have in the end it still comes down to infantry storming trenches which has never been cheap.

The Russian military is not advancing slowly because it has discovered some new never-before-seen brilliant way of fighting that devastates the enemy but preserves your own numbers. It is advancing slowly, paying a high cost for every village taken, because it doesn't have the mass needed to make it a mobile war where you advance at a far lower cost in blood.

The recipe for getting out of the positional quagmire has always been known. Make a breakthrough (at a high price) then pour in reserves to exploit it. But when you don't have the numbers to generate powerful exploitation forces then you are sentenced to having to endlessly assault prepared positions over and over again.

Alexander Sladkov, the reporter embedded with DPR troops has said multiple times that they are being asked to assault enemy positions at 1:1 troop ratios. In such circumstances it is something of a miracle that the Russians are making any progress at all. Also it is easy to understand that having to assault an enemy at a correlation of forces of just 1:1 drives up your losses since you either don't have enough men for proper suppression of the enemy, or to make your flanking attacks sufficiently broad.

This wouldn't be worth talking about but for one tiny little detail — this Russian dearth of manpower that makes the gains they make so much costlier for them is entirely self-inflicted. Or better said Kremlin-inflicted.

The Russian military is composed of 220,000 officers, 420,000 contract soldiers, 270,000 conscript soldiers, and in the case of major war is configured to mobilize another 150-200,000 reservists to fill up its ranks. (Not to form new units, but merely to get existing ones to full strength.)

The first thing Putin did when he threw the military into a major war was to inform them that call up of reserves was off the table and that they could not use any of the 270,000 conscripts they had trained and integrated into their units where they were carrying out vital roles. Who does that? Who starts a major war then cuts his effective military by a third??

This is a crime against the military not seen since Stalin shot tens of thousands of officers just before they would be desperately needed for WW2.

And again, it doesn't save lives. It costs lives. It also represents fraud against contract soldiers. When you sign a contract you understand that you might be sent to war. But that means just that — A WAR. A major war that will be treated as a major war and in which you will be properly supported by the government that sent you there. That includes support by conscripts and reservists. But what nobody signed on for was to be sent into a "special military operation". As far as anyone can tell a "special military operation" is exactly like a war, except one in which the Kremlin fucks you. Throws you into a meat grinder against a nation of 40 million that has every intention of mobilizing but limits your own numbers to just officers and contract soldiers.

Honestly, who is the bigger enemy of the Russian soldier? Biden who sent the Ukrainians 100 howitzers, or Putin who made 100,000 conscript soldiers from the units sent to Ukraine non-deployable?

Vladimir "5th Column" Pussy has taken far more Russian rifles off the board than Ukrainians ever could.

And the Russian soldier foolish enough to enter into a contract with the Russian vaxx-max government is left paying the price as he assaults Ukrainian trenches at 1:1 ratios, suffering losses accordingly.

The only saving grace of the "special military operation" is that a state of war not having been declared Russian contract soldiers can refuse deployment and tear up their contracts without great legal repercussions. — However they still overwhelmingly do not do that, because if they refuse to deploy then their platoon buddies who do deploy are that much more screwed.

What is funnier is that the official motto of this special mission travesty is "No one left behind." Hilarious. Just as the contract soldier is being betrayed, made to bear vastly disproportionate sacrifices, and actively pushed unsupported into a world of shit the government claims it is leaving "no one behind". Indeed, it isn't. That would imply passivity where the betrayal here is of a much more active type.

What happened here is that the Russians first tried to develop an advance going south from Izyum (purple arrow), but that stalled and they gave that up for the time being. (Right around when Gerasimov was rumored to have visited the front.)

They shifted focus to creating an even smaller envelopment further east. Even this less ambitious effort was only partially successful. The attempt by the northern pincer (red arrow) to cross the river ended in a disaster.

However, the effort from the south (green arrow) was successful, but only after a very long and expensive fight for the heavily entrenched town of Popasna.

The advance in the south, in particular, is significant despite its brief length of only 20 km because the urban agglomeration of Severodonetsk-Lisichansk is now threatened with supply loss and encirclement, which is something.

So the gains being made are not meaningless. Lives aren't being thrown away for nothing at all. Something is being gained, and there is (slow, costly) progress. But the point stands that everything that is being accomplished is being accomplished in the most difficult and costly way possible — by first handicapping the Russian military and ensuring it does not have the numbers advantage for mobile war.


*The closest to making positional warfare casualties lopsided came the Americans in the Pacific but they were assaulting isolated, unsupported island garrisons that they could approach with any superiority in numbers that they chose for themselves.

Barak Ravid - Thu May 26, 2022 08:28

Israel turned down a U.S. request to allow Berlin to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles produced in Germany with Israeli technology under an Israeli license, two U.S. and Israeli officials said.

The issue of weapons supply is one of the last policy differences between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to the war.

Under pressure from the Biden administration, Israel has adjusted its policy toward Moscow and gradually taken a more pro-Ukraine position than it did when Russia began its invasion. But it has so far not supplied advanced weaponry to Ukraine.

Amir Eshel, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, visited Washington two weeks ago for talks with Pentagon officials on security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

Colin Kahl, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, met with Eshel and raised the Biden administration’s efforts to get countries around the world to supply Ukraine with weapons, according to the U.S. and Israeli officials.

Kahl asked Eshel if Israel would give permission to Germany to transfer “Spike” anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, the officials said.

The missiles are produced in an Israeli-owned factory in Germany. According to the license, Israel must approve any transfer of the missiles to a third party.

Eshel rejected the request, telling Kahl that Israel will only supply Ukraine with nonlethal military equipment, the officials said.

A senior Israeli official said Israel is concerned Russian soldiers will be killed by Israeli-made weapons, which could lead to Russia harming Israeli security interests in Syria.

Russia holds enormous influence in Syria but allows Israel to operate freely against Iranian activity there.

When Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Washington last week, the missile supply didn’t come up in his meetings with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, according to Israeli officials.

The officials said Gantz told Austin and Sullivan Israel is committed to supporting Ukraine and has started supplying it with nonlethal military equipment while also maintaining its security interests in the Middle East.

On the day Gantz arrived in Washington, Israel sent a shipment of 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests for emergency and civilian organizations in Ukraine.

"We continue to discuss with allies and partners the ongoing situation in Ukraine and the need to support Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression, but we will not discuss the details of those conversations," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told me.

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Israel turned down a U.S. request to allow Berlin to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles produced in Germany with Israeli technology under an Israeli license, two U.S. and Israeli officials said.

The issue of weapons supply is one of the last policy differences between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to the war.

Under pressure from the Biden administration, Israel has adjusted its policy toward Moscow and gradually taken a more pro-Ukraine position than it did when Russia began its invasion. But it has so far not supplied advanced weaponry to Ukraine.

Amir Eshel, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, visited Washington two weeks ago for talks with Pentagon officials on security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

Colin Kahl, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, met with Eshel and raised the Biden administration’s efforts to get countries around the world to supply Ukraine with weapons, according to the U.S. and Israeli officials.

Kahl asked Eshel if Israel would give permission to Germany to transfer “Spike” anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, the officials said.

The missiles are produced in an Israeli-owned factory in Germany. According to the license, Israel must approve any transfer of the missiles to a third party.

Eshel rejected the request, telling Kahl that Israel will only supply Ukraine with nonlethal military equipment, the officials said.

A senior Israeli official said Israel is concerned Russian soldiers will be killed by Israeli-made weapons, which could lead to Russia harming Israeli security interests in Syria.

Russia holds enormous influence in Syria but allows Israel to operate freely against Iranian activity there.

When Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Washington last week, the missile supply didn’t come up in his meetings with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, according to Israeli officials.

The officials said Gantz told Austin and Sullivan Israel is committed to supporting Ukraine and has started supplying it with nonlethal military equipment while also maintaining its security interests in the Middle East.

On the day Gantz arrived in Washington, Israel sent a shipment of 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests for emergency and civilian organizations in Ukraine.

"We continue to discuss with allies and partners the ongoing situation in Ukraine and the need to support Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression, but we will not discuss the details of those conversations," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told me.

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Daniel Tilles - Thu May 26, 2022 00:43

Source: Bloomberg

Norway should share the “gigantic” profits it’s recently made as a result of higher oil and gas prices, especially with Ukraine, said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, answering a question about his government’s energy policy Sunday at a meeting of a youth group, said coal-reliant Poland plans to switch to renewables and nuclear energy, while shedding oil and gas deliveries from Russia and at some point from “Arab” countries as well.

“But should we be paying Norway gigantic money for gas -- four or five times more than we paid a year ago? This is sick,” he said. “They should share these excess profits. It’s not normal, it’s unjust. This is an indirect preying on the war started by Putin.”

Poland will later this year complete a gas pipeline from Norway that’s set to help it replace the supply of the fuel from Russia -- cut last month following Poland’s refusal to pay in rubles.


Source: Notes From Poland

Speaking to a youth forum in Warsaw, Mateusz Morawiecki noted that profits from oil and gas this year for Norway, “a small country of five million [people], will be over €100 billion” higher than in recent years.

“This is not normal, this is not fair” and Norway “should share this excess, gigantic profit”, continued the prime minister. “It is preying – unintentionally of course, because it is not Norway’s fault, this war in Ukraine – but it is indirect preying on what is happening, the war caused by Putin.”

“We are all indignant at Russia, and rightly so,” said the prime minister. “But ladies and gentlemen, young people, something is not right. Write to your young friends in Norway…They should share it, not necessarily with Poland [but] for Ukraine, for those most affected by this war. Isn’t that normal?”

 

Source: Bloomberg

Norway should share the “gigantic” profits it’s recently made as a result of higher oil and gas prices, especially with Ukraine, said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, answering a question about his government’s energy policy Sunday at a meeting of a youth group, said coal-reliant Poland plans to switch to renewables and nuclear energy, while shedding oil and gas deliveries from Russia and at some point from “Arab” countries as well.

“But should we be paying Norway gigantic money for gas -- four or five times more than we paid a year ago? This is sick,” he said. “They should share these excess profits. It’s not normal, it’s unjust. This is an indirect preying on the war started by Putin.”

Poland will later this year complete a gas pipeline from Norway that’s set to help it replace the supply of the fuel from Russia -- cut last month following Poland’s refusal to pay in rubles.


Source: Notes From Poland

Speaking to a youth forum in Warsaw, Mateusz Morawiecki noted that profits from oil and gas this year for Norway, “a small country of five million [people], will be over €100 billion” higher than in recent years.

“This is not normal, this is not fair” and Norway “should share this excess, gigantic profit”, continued the prime minister. “It is preying – unintentionally of course, because it is not Norway’s fault, this war in Ukraine – but it is indirect preying on what is happening, the war caused by Putin.”

“We are all indignant at Russia, and rightly so,” said the prime minister. “But ladies and gentlemen, young people, something is not right. Write to your young friends in Norway…They should share it, not necessarily with Poland [but] for Ukraine, for those most affected by this war. Isn’t that normal?”

 

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 23:32

Russia has just banned surrogate birth for foreigners after 40,000 surrogate-birth children have left Russia over the past decades to be raised by foreigners.

In Ukraine the practice remains a boutique industry:

Since 2015, Ukraine has developed into the global capital of surrogacy, with numerous other countries, including Nepal, India and Thailand, having banned the practice. According to estimates, between 2,000 and 3,000 babies are born to surrogate mothers in the Eastern European country [every year], most of them for parents abroad.

The industry hit a war snag as parents weren't able to easily travel and the babies started piling up:

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, it has grown increasingly difficult for the future parents to pick up their children. And every day, new children from surrogate mothers in Ukraine are being born, with hundreds more still pregnant.

"There are currently 18 babies in our air raid shelter in a Kyiv suburb. But new ones are arriving every day."

But the biggest pile-up has nothing to do with the war but with covid derangement:

We have children here from all over the world: France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Brazil and China. Our oldest children are Chinese. Their parents are unable to leave the country and pick up their children because of the strict coronavirus measures.

The situation with China-bound babies is replicated in Russia:

Due to coronavirus restrictions in 2020, a number of babies born to surrogate mothers were stranded after Russia closed its borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Most foreign parents were from China and were unable to pick up their children because of the pandemic.

Russia has just banned surrogate birth for foreigners after 40,000 surrogate-birth children have left Russia over the past decades to be raised by foreigners.

In Ukraine the practice remains a boutique industry:

Since 2015, Ukraine has developed into the global capital of surrogacy, with numerous other countries, including Nepal, India and Thailand, having banned the practice. According to estimates, between 2,000 and 3,000 babies are born to surrogate mothers in the Eastern European country [every year], most of them for parents abroad.

The industry hit a war snag as parents weren't able to easily travel and the babies started piling up:

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, it has grown increasingly difficult for the future parents to pick up their children. And every day, new children from surrogate mothers in Ukraine are being born, with hundreds more still pregnant.

"There are currently 18 babies in our air raid shelter in a Kyiv suburb. But new ones are arriving every day."

But the biggest pile-up has nothing to do with the war but with covid derangement:

We have children here from all over the world: France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Brazil and China. Our oldest children are Chinese. Their parents are unable to leave the country and pick up their children because of the strict coronavirus measures.

The situation with China-bound babies is replicated in Russia:

Due to coronavirus restrictions in 2020, a number of babies born to surrogate mothers were stranded after Russia closed its borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Most foreign parents were from China and were unable to pick up their children because of the pandemic.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 13:58

Russia has trained serving conscripts but won't use them in Ukraine. This produces a severe manpower shortage which it is trying to dampen with a host of desperate halfway measures. Rounding up Donbass teachers, using the Rosgvardia police troops, disproportionally relying on Chechens, inviting South Ossetians...

One of the desperation measures is courting ex-servicemembers (ex-pros and ex-conscripts alike) to return to the military for stints as short as 3 months, and be paid a staggering 300 thousand rubles per month. At the prewar exchange level that would be 3750 US dollars and is massive money for the Russian province.

It is much higher than the normal salary of a contract soldier which is around $1000 (plus a combat bonus but I don't know how large). Before Ukraine the shortest contract the Russian military would enter into was for 2 years of service.

Kommersant has the story:

The military commissariat of the Lysvensky urban district of the Perm Territory announced on social networks the recruitment of citizens to conclude short-term contracts for the positions of officers, sergeants and privates to participate in the military operation in Ukraine. Information about this today, May 23, in the morning was posted on the official page of the district administration on the VKontakte social network . It was reported that a contract can be concluded for a period of 3 to 12 months. The monthly monetary allowance of contractors will be from 300 thousand rubles.

After the publication of news about this in the media, the message was deleted. The Lysva military registration and enlistment office declined to comment.

The Business Class publication writes that similar messages appeared today, May 23, in the social networks of the administrations of the Ordinsky and Uinsky municipal districts of the Perm Territory, later they were also deleted.

In a related development, the Duma has raised the age limit for Russians seeking to become contract soldiers from 40 to 50 years.

Russia has trained serving conscripts but won't use them in Ukraine. This produces a severe manpower shortage which it is trying to dampen with a host of desperate halfway measures. Rounding up Donbass teachers, using the Rosgvardia police troops, disproportionally relying on Chechens, inviting South Ossetians...

One of the desperation measures is courting ex-servicemembers (ex-pros and ex-conscripts alike) to return to the military for stints as short as 3 months, and be paid a staggering 300 thousand rubles per month. At the prewar exchange level that would be 3750 US dollars and is massive money for the Russian province.

It is much higher than the normal salary of a contract soldier which is around $1000 (plus a combat bonus but I don't know how large). Before Ukraine the shortest contract the Russian military would enter into was for 2 years of service.

Kommersant has the story:

The military commissariat of the Lysvensky urban district of the Perm Territory announced on social networks the recruitment of citizens to conclude short-term contracts for the positions of officers, sergeants and privates to participate in the military operation in Ukraine. Information about this today, May 23, in the morning was posted on the official page of the district administration on the VKontakte social network . It was reported that a contract can be concluded for a period of 3 to 12 months. The monthly monetary allowance of contractors will be from 300 thousand rubles.

After the publication of news about this in the media, the message was deleted. The Lysva military registration and enlistment office declined to comment.

The Business Class publication writes that similar messages appeared today, May 23, in the social networks of the administrations of the Ordinsky and Uinsky municipal districts of the Perm Territory, later they were also deleted.

In a related development, the Duma has raised the age limit for Russians seeking to become contract soldiers from 40 to 50 years.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 10:34

Zelensky has said that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers perish every in the east of the country. That is to say he was talking only about the deaths in Donbass, not counting deaths that occur on the Kherson front, and any deaths when Russia hits training centers in the rear with cruise missiles.

Previously on April 15 he estimated that 2500 to 3000 Ukrainian soldiers had perished in the war, which works out to 50 to 60 per day.

Zelensky was speaking in a context where he did not have an incentive to full-on minimize Ukrainian deaths. He was addressing a question about a petition to allow Ukrainian men to exit the country.

I don’t quite understand whom this petition addresses. Does this petition address me? Or, maybe this petition should address the parents of those warriors, who lost these people, because they defended Ukraine at the cost of their lives?

Today, from 50 to 100 people could be killed here in the most complicated area, in the east of our country."

50 to 100 per day works out to 1500 to 3000 dead per month. For the three months of war so far that would be 4500 to 9000 Ukrainian military deaths so far.

The Kherson front is fairly quiet, particularly recently, but Ukrainian losses in the Russian targeting of barracks are quite significant. There is a reporting ban on these, but sometimes videos of carnage come out, forcing Ukraine to acknowledge them.

Thus in the last seven days, there were two such strikes that we know of. A strike on the barracks of the 91st brigade in Sumy that according to Ukrainian reports killed about 70. And a strike on a training center in Chernigov region that according to Zelensky killed 87. Early reports were of 250 to 300 killed.

So what are the true Ukrainian losses so far? Impossible to know. Zelensky's figures do not include significant losses that are occurring in missile strikes against the rear, and are probably undercounts even just for Donbass. But given the context in which they were given, I do not think they are not massive undercounts but have some correlation to the truth and some information value.

I think Zelensky's 4500 to 9000 partial and undercounted estimate fits well with my previous guesstimate that anything from 6000 to 18000 deaths is plausible for Ukraine.

Zelensky's number of 50 to 100 dead per day on the Ukrainian side is also interesting in the light of me having estimated 75 deaths per day for the Russia-led side last week and 50 deaths daily the week before.

In any case, this is a very bloody war. In the Bosnian war — the costliest in Europe after WWII — about 40 combatants were killed per day.  In 1992, the bloodiest year of the war, about 90 combatants were killed per day. In the bloodiest month of 1992, 145 combatants were killed per day.

The Ukraine War matches the very bloodiest month of Bosnia.

The 6 weeks of the 2nd Karabakh War in 2020 produced 7200 combatant deaths or 160 per day. — Also a similar level.

At least 4200 Ukrainian soldiers have also entered captivity. The vast majority in Mariupol.

Zelensky has said that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers perish every in the east of the country. That is to say he was talking only about the deaths in Donbass, not counting deaths that occur on the Kherson front, and any deaths when Russia hits training centers in the rear with cruise missiles.

Previously on April 15 he estimated that 2500 to 3000 Ukrainian soldiers had perished in the war, which works out to 50 to 60 per day.

Zelensky was speaking in a context where he did not have an incentive to full-on minimize Ukrainian deaths. He was addressing a question about a petition to allow Ukrainian men to exit the country.

I don’t quite understand whom this petition addresses. Does this petition address me? Or, maybe this petition should address the parents of those warriors, who lost these people, because they defended Ukraine at the cost of their lives?

Today, from 50 to 100 people could be killed here in the most complicated area, in the east of our country."

50 to 100 per day works out to 1500 to 3000 dead per month. For the three months of war so far that would be 4500 to 9000 Ukrainian military deaths so far.

The Kherson front is fairly quiet, particularly recently, but Ukrainian losses in the Russian targeting of barracks are quite significant. There is a reporting ban on these, but sometimes videos of carnage come out, forcing Ukraine to acknowledge them.

Thus in the last seven days, there were two such strikes that we know of. A strike on the barracks of the 91st brigade in Sumy that according to Ukrainian reports killed about 70. And a strike on a training center in Chernigov region that according to Zelensky killed 87. Early reports were of 250 to 300 killed.

So what are the true Ukrainian losses so far? Impossible to know. Zelensky's figures do not include significant losses that are occurring in missile strikes against the rear, and are probably undercounts even just for Donbass. But given the context in which they were given, I do not think they are not massive undercounts but have some correlation to the truth and some information value.

I think Zelensky's 4500 to 9000 partial and undercounted estimate fits well with my previous guesstimate that anything from 6000 to 18000 deaths is plausible for Ukraine.

Zelensky's number of 50 to 100 dead per day on the Ukrainian side is also interesting in the light of me having estimated 75 deaths per day for the Russia-led side last week and 50 deaths daily the week before.

In any case, this is a very bloody war. In the Bosnian war — the costliest in Europe after WWII — about 40 combatants were killed per day.  In 1992, the bloodiest year of the war, about 90 combatants were killed per day. In the bloodiest month of 1992, 145 combatants were killed per day.

The Ukraine War matches the very bloodiest month of Bosnia.

The 6 weeks of the 2nd Karabakh War in 2020 produced 7200 combatant deaths or 160 per day. — Also a similar level.

At least 4200 Ukrainian soldiers have also entered captivity. The vast majority in Mariupol.

Anti-Empire - Wed May 25, 2022 00:11

I said this could be done "inside a week":

Operating a howitzer isn’t far different from operating any piece of heavy and precise machinery. Like a lathe operator switching to a new lathe, a person who is already an artilleryman can retrain to a new tube inside a week.

The New York Times confirms it is taking 6 days:

The bottleneck is training. The United States has so far trained about 200 Ukrainian soldiers in six-day courses at bases in Germany. The Ukrainian military divided this group roughly in half, sending some to the front and others to train more Ukrainians. Training soldiers for all 90 guns — the amount that are scheduled to arrive — could take another several weeks, said Mykhailo Zhirokhov, the author of a book on artillery in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists, “Gods of Hybrid War.’

As long as you have one or two guys per gun who were already artillerymen on a Soviet caliber then 155mm is no big deal. Also having a conscript system Ukraine has access to numerous civilians who are former gun crews.

Teaching them to use the guided rounds would take longer, but those aren't being provided anyway. (Canada has sent a small number, but not the US. The rounds are $60,000 a pop.)

(Mind you the Ukrainians have their own "Kvitnyk" guided rounds for the 152mm guns so it's not like they're entirely unfamiliar. It's just a matter of learning a new interface.)

I said this could be done "inside a week":

Operating a howitzer isn’t far different from operating any piece of heavy and precise machinery. Like a lathe operator switching to a new lathe, a person who is already an artilleryman can retrain to a new tube inside a week.

The New York Times confirms it is taking 6 days:

The bottleneck is training. The United States has so far trained about 200 Ukrainian soldiers in six-day courses at bases in Germany. The Ukrainian military divided this group roughly in half, sending some to the front and others to train more Ukrainians. Training soldiers for all 90 guns — the amount that are scheduled to arrive — could take another several weeks, said Mykhailo Zhirokhov, the author of a book on artillery in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists, “Gods of Hybrid War.’

As long as you have one or two guys per gun who were already artillerymen on a Soviet caliber then 155mm is no big deal. Also having a conscript system Ukraine has access to numerous civilians who are former gun crews.

Teaching them to use the guided rounds would take longer, but those aren't being provided anyway. (Canada has sent a small number, but not the US. The rounds are $60,000 a pop.)

(Mind you the Ukrainians have their own "Kvitnyk" guided rounds for the 152mm guns so it's not like they're entirely unfamiliar. It's just a matter of learning a new interface.)

Sam LaGrone - Mon May 23, 2022 23:17

Source: USNI News

The Danish Armed Forces are sending long-range anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Monday. The range of Denmark’s coastal defense Harpoons could put Russian ships at risk in the Northern Black Sea, a naval analyst told USNI News.

“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said in prepared remarks at the Pentagon following a meeting with an international coalition and Ukraine defense officials.

While Austin did not specify the type of Harpoon, the Danish military’s coastal anti-ship missile batteries field RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block IIs that are capable of not only hitting ships at sea, but also targets in port and on land with an upgrade from the Boeing Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System.

Ukrainian forces have been requesting Harpoons as they seek to break the blockade of Odesa’s port and the ongoing harassment from sea-based missiles, USNI News understands.

“This blockade has cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, halting Ukrainian grain exports, choking the country’s main export industry and driving global food prices to record highs,” wrote Tayfun Ozberk for Naval News on Sunday.

Austin’s announcement follows a Reuters report last week that the White House has been working for weeks to get Ukraine not only Harpoons but also the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missile.

Source: USNI News

The Danish Armed Forces are sending long-range anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Monday. The range of Denmark’s coastal defense Harpoons could put Russian ships at risk in the Northern Black Sea, a naval analyst told USNI News.

“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said in prepared remarks at the Pentagon following a meeting with an international coalition and Ukraine defense officials.

While Austin did not specify the type of Harpoon, the Danish military’s coastal anti-ship missile batteries field RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block IIs that are capable of not only hitting ships at sea, but also targets in port and on land with an upgrade from the Boeing Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control System.

Ukrainian forces have been requesting Harpoons as they seek to break the blockade of Odesa’s port and the ongoing harassment from sea-based missiles, USNI News understands.

“This blockade has cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, halting Ukrainian grain exports, choking the country’s main export industry and driving global food prices to record highs,” wrote Tayfun Ozberk for Naval News on Sunday.

Austin’s announcement follows a Reuters report last week that the White House has been working for weeks to get Ukraine not only Harpoons but also the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missile.

Anti-Empire - Sun May 22, 2022 22:20

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


Ritter justifies his abrupt, overnight shift from triumphalism to deep pessimism for Russia in Ukraine by explaining that until now he thought that Russia was successfully intercepting US supplies before they reached the front:

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield.

But *why* was Ritter operating on the assumption that Russia would be interdicting most of these supplies?? What justification was there for this assumption?

I had been watching the Russian strategic war on Ukrainian rail since its April start and was able to conclude and chronicle that it wasn't having an overwhelming impact. The Russian approach of striking electric substations would disrupt the rail for a few days at a time but then things would go back to normal.

If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn't Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-"intelligence officer" couldn't?

And if he couldn't see that for himself why didn't he read Anti-Empire and learn it here? Sounds like it would have saved him a ton of embarrassment.

In fact Ritter did a lot more than just assume that Russia would destroy nearly all of this American equipment in transit. He was actively telling his listeners that was indeed already happening. Something he now admits had been false the whole time.

I never paid attention to him, but a friend who did reports that Ritter was selling an elaborate fantasy where Russia had such amazing intel on NATO shipments that leaving the Dnieper bridges intact was clever 5D play to allow NATO supplies to come closer where they could be destroyed even more easily. (LOL)

Reality is that by now 15 planeloads are unloaded in eastern Poland every day. Russia has had success in destroying some of it on railway yards and in warehouses in Ukraine, but there is no indication it is destroying anything close to 15 planeloads a day. Far from it.  Russia doesn't have the surveillance capability to monitor every rail line, every train, and every warehouse, and the majority survives. If the Ukrainians are able to ship food, ammo and new units to the eastern theater  — and we know that they are — then they are also able to transport NATO ammo and NATO gear to the same destinations. Indeed since civilian trains are still making routine and on-schedule trips as far as Lozova in the Donetsk region, how could they not?

It doesn't make sense that Ukrainians could run civilian trains to Donbass, and keep over 20 brigades they have there more or less supplied (except at the very front, in Russian artillery range), but would be magically incapable of transporting foreign-provided gear alone.

***

Changing your mind on something is very rare in people and can be a sign of unusual and remarkable intellectual honesty. So in theory Ritter's U-turn could be reason to praise him and take him more seriously than ever. Problem is his flip-flop happened overnight and without any warning whatsoever which in a commentator is the exact opposite of seriousness.

It's one thing to gradually chronicle a development that eventually forces you to switch to a different overall position. But it's an entirely different thing to keep saying there are no valid reasons to hold a position Y whatsoever, then one morning suddenly proclaiming yourself to now hold Y as correct because reasons.

That sort of thing means you're not an analyst but a roulette wheel. What hot, sensationalist, and attention-grabbing take are you going to have tomorrow?

One day the Russian effort in Ritter's take was brilliant and invincible, the next day it was all of a suddenly checkmated. One day there was triumphalism that glossed over every problem and denied any danger whatsoever — the next day everything was proclaimed lost.

Except that it wasn't. Not in one day. If the Russian effort is now truly sentenced to a forever war as Ritter now claims, then the potential danger and signs of that already existed for quite some time. Signs that Ritter never alerted his audience to, but in fact actively denied even existed.

That's the problem. It's perfectly okay to be wrong on where things are headed. In fact, it is to be expected. What isn't okay is making facts fit your narrative because you're wedded to it.

When you switch on a dime then sadly that is proof that your "analysis" doesn't proceed from honest reasoning and information-gathering but from your emotional state. It means that for some time you have been lying to yourself and to your audience.

The only thing Ritter's abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not. One day he was wedded to a narrative, the next he no longer was. What's the guarantee his reasoning will be more sincere and reality-based from now on?

***

Ritter also fails to grapple with the question of what his newfound understanding that Kremlin expected only light resistance and to deliver a knockout blow inside a month means for his claim that the drive on Kiev was a mere "supporting attack".

How precisely was a campaign whose main effort was (allegedly) against the SE periphery of the country ever going to deliver a knockout blow that Ritter now asserts was the expectation?

If anything was going to deliver a knockout blow inside a month against limited organized resistance it wasn't going to be the effort in the southeast (which was the real pinning effort) but only a stroll into the political capital.

...massive Russian intelligence failure over prewar assessments that organized resistance by Ukraine would be limited and easily overcome. Instead, the Russians were met by an organized, capable and determined Ukrainian military that has shown great resilience in defending against Russian attack.

Instead of a quick campaign of less than a month, Russia found itself in a drawn-out fight that required its military to alter its approach — pulling back from supporting attacks against Kyiv and Odessa in favor of a more singular focus on eastern Ukraine.

The failure of the invasion to deliver a knockout blow to the Ukrainian government has altered the political-military landscape in ways that neither Russia nor Nato predicted.

***

For the record I don't think that Western aid has the kind of outcome-altering significance that Ritter assigns it. Not yet. As I said that would require the West taking on the burden of retooling and capacity expansion and so far there isn't a sign of that. (As well as taking on greater financial obligations.)

Suddenly citing the significance of Western aid that was always a given sounds more like an excuse. A way to justify the abrupt shift that was really caused by loss of confidence in the prior triumphalist take for a whole host of complicated reasons and which had been marinating for some time.

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


Ritter justifies his abrupt, overnight shift from triumphalism to deep pessimism for Russia in Ukraine by explaining that until now he thought that Russia was successfully intercepting US supplies before they reached the front:

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield.

But *why* was Ritter operating on the assumption that Russia would be interdicting most of these supplies?? What justification was there for this assumption?

I had been watching the Russian strategic war on Ukrainian rail since its April start and was able to conclude and chronicle that it wasn't having an overwhelming impact. The Russian approach of striking electric substations would disrupt the rail for a few days at a time but then things would go back to normal.

If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn't Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-"intelligence officer" couldn't?

And if he couldn't see that for himself why didn't he read Anti-Empire and learn it here? Sounds like it would have saved him a ton of embarrassment.

In fact Ritter did a lot more than just assume that Russia would destroy nearly all of this American equipment in transit. He was actively telling his listeners that was indeed already happening. Something he now admits had been false the whole time.

I never paid attention to him, but a friend who did reports that Ritter was selling an elaborate fantasy where Russia had such amazing intel on NATO shipments that leaving the Dnieper bridges intact was clever 5D play to allow NATO supplies to come closer where they could be destroyed even more easily. (LOL)

Reality is that by now 15 planeloads are unloaded in eastern Poland every day. Russia has had success in destroying some of it on railway yards and in warehouses in Ukraine, but there is no indication it is destroying anything close to 15 planeloads a day. Far from it.  Russia doesn't have the surveillance capability to monitor every rail line, every train, and every warehouse, and the majority survives. If the Ukrainians are able to ship food, ammo and new units to the eastern theater  — and we know that they are — then they are also able to transport NATO ammo and NATO gear to the same destinations. Indeed since civilian trains are still making routine and on-schedule trips as far as Lozova in the Donetsk region, how could they not?

It doesn't make sense that Ukrainians could run civilian trains to Donbass, and keep over 20 brigades they have there more or less supplied (except at the very front, in Russian artillery range), but would be magically incapable of transporting foreign-provided gear alone.

***

Changing your mind on something is very rare in people and can be a sign of unusual and remarkable intellectual honesty. So in theory Ritter's U-turn could be reason to praise him and take him more seriously than ever. Problem is his flip-flop happened overnight and without any warning whatsoever which in a commentator is the exact opposite of seriousness.

It's one thing to gradually chronicle a development that eventually forces you to switch to a different overall position. But it's an entirely different thing to keep saying there are no valid reasons to hold a position Y whatsoever, then one morning suddenly proclaiming yourself to now hold Y as correct because reasons.

That sort of thing means you're not an analyst but a roulette wheel. What hot, sensationalist, and attention-grabbing take are you going to have tomorrow?

One day the Russian effort in Ritter's take was brilliant and invincible, the next day it was all of a suddenly checkmated. One day there was triumphalism that glossed over every problem and denied any danger whatsoever — the next day everything was proclaimed lost.

Except that it wasn't. Not in one day. If the Russian effort is now truly sentenced to a forever war as Ritter now claims, then the potential danger and signs of that already existed for quite some time. Signs that Ritter never alerted his audience to, but in fact actively denied even existed.

That's the problem. It's perfectly okay to be wrong on where things are headed. In fact, it is to be expected. What isn't okay is making facts fit your narrative because you're wedded to it.

When you switch on a dime then sadly that is proof that your "analysis" doesn't proceed from honest reasoning and information-gathering but from your emotional state. It means that for some time you have been lying to yourself and to your audience.

The only thing Ritter's abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not. One day he was wedded to a narrative, the next he no longer was. What's the guarantee his reasoning will be more sincere and reality-based from now on?

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Ritter also fails to grapple with the question of what his newfound understanding that Kremlin expected only light resistance and to deliver a knockout blow inside a month means for his claim that the drive on Kiev was a mere "supporting attack".

How precisely was a campaign whose main effort was (allegedly) against the SE periphery of the country ever going to deliver a knockout blow that Ritter now asserts was the expectation?

If anything was going to deliver a knockout blow inside a month against limited organized resistance it wasn't going to be the effort in the southeast (which was the real pinning effort) but only a stroll into the political capital.

...massive Russian intelligence failure over prewar assessments that organized resistance by Ukraine would be limited and easily overcome. Instead, the Russians were met by an organized, capable and determined Ukrainian military that has shown great resilience in defending against Russian attack.

Instead of a quick campaign of less than a month, Russia found itself in a drawn-out fight that required its military to alter its approach — pulling back from supporting attacks against Kyiv and Odessa in favor of a more singular focus on eastern Ukraine.

The failure of the invasion to deliver a knockout blow to the Ukrainian government has altered the political-military landscape in ways that neither Russia nor Nato predicted.

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For the record I don't think that Western aid has the kind of outcome-altering significance that Ritter assigns it. Not yet. As I said that would require the West taking on the burden of retooling and capacity expansion and so far there isn't a sign of that. (As well as taking on greater financial obligations.)

Suddenly citing the significance of Western aid that was always a given sounds more like an excuse. A way to justify the abrupt shift that was really caused by loss of confidence in the prior triumphalist take for a whole host of complicated reasons and which had been marinating for some time.

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